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Etui and Tweezers

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With its unusual combination of letters, the word etui is a favorite of crossword-puzzle constructors. Etui means “a small case” and often refers to containers for carrying small instruments such as sewing needles and pins. This word was adapted from French étui,meaning “case” or “box,” which derives from an older word meaning “to shut up” or “imprison.” In the 17th century, the word was often spelled etwee, with a plural form of etweese. A version of this word was later transferred to a small instrument sometimes kept in such a container, tweezers. This is part of a complete episode.

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